Last night I had a chance to speak to a rep at Google about this post: Google is clarifying and stating, for the record, it’s approach to that big, wild world known as Content. From it:
The Internet has broken down many of the barriers that exist between people and information –- effectively democratizing access to human knowledge. By typing just a few keywords into a computer you can learn about almost any subject. Google is one of many organizations that work to make this possible.
But today only a fraction of the world’s information is available online. Our aim to help organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful means working with a lot of information – newspaper articles (many written over a century ago), books (of which there are millions), images, videos (including all of the new footage users are creating), websites, important financial information and much, much more.
Because we don’t own this content, over the years we’ve come up with three primary principles to ensure that we respect content owners and protect their rights:
* we respect copyright;
* we let owners choose whether we index their content in our products;
* we try to bring benefit back to content owners by partnering with them.
There is a lot to say about this, and as regular readers know, I have been somewhat vocal about Google’s role in the world of media for some time. While this post might seem rather DBI (dull but important), it comes at a very interesting time for the company. Primarily, it’s important for folks at Google to have something to point to when they are in the endless business development meetings with the music, publishing, and entertainment industries. It’s clear that scores, if not hundreds of such meetings have ended with a frustrating chorus of “Really, trust us, we swear we aren’t out to undermine your business!!!” A post like this helps Google demonstrate to their potential and current partners just that.
This is not a new issue. I wrote in my book about the first complaints from webmasters when Google went live – threats of lawsuits from online museums and the like.
I sense that Google is starting to truly declare its position relative to content creation companies, and it’s this: we’re not in your business, and won’t be. We might impact your business, and in significant ways, but you can’t sue us for that, brother. Now, let’s go make tons of money, together….and if our margins are higher than yours, well, that’s not our fault….